A-maze App: A case study on facilitating collaboration and support for neurodiverse individuals

May 14, 2023

In a world brimming with constant stimulation and relentless demands, individuals with ADHD and autism often find themselves navigating through a maze of challenges that can impede their everyday lives.

Recognizing the pressing need for a solution that empowers and supports these remarkable individuals, our team embarked on a transformative journey to create A-maze, a wellness app designed with unwavering empathy and a focus on user-centered design.

See the UI case study here.


While simplicity can be a catalyst for empowerment, A-maze strives to streamline the complexities faced by neurodiverse individuals. Through the power of merging qualitative and quantitative research into each other, we have meticulously tailored every aspect of A-maze to the specific needs and struggles of individuals with ADHD and autism.

This case study dives into the deep impact of A-maze, exploring its empathetic design, the insights gained from our research, and the remarkable outcomes achieved through our high-precision user-centered approach.

Step into the world of A-maze, where we simplify lives and empower the minds of neurodiverse individuals.

1. Project scope

a. The challenge

We were challenged to make a presentation of our final product to a fictionary and non-profit organization “Daily Health Conference” with the following deliverables:

  • MVP

  • Disruptive concept

  • Hi-Fi prototype

  • Strategic branding

To curate a new set of digital mobile apps with a fresh brand that reflects an innovative approach to wellness.

Participating designers will:

  • Conduct UXR to understand wellness habits and goals

  • Prototype an MVP of a disruptive and motivating tool

  • Pitch their ideas in front of a jury composed of wellness professionals, lead designers, and investors

It was a very exciting concept to get prepared for.

b. Project setup and the team

  • The project timeline was for 10 days (excluding the weekends) *for our team it was 12.5 days of the design process.

  • Our team was two designers and I had a chance to work with talented and responsible designer

    Diana Sánchez Llerena for this project.

c. Design tools and platforms

  • Figjam: main collaboration tool

  • Figma: a project design tool

  • Discord and Zoom: team communication tools

  • Notion: team schedule and work plan tool

  • Otter.ai: interview transcript tool

  • Photoshop: visual improvements and mockups

  • Freepick.com and flaticon.com: project images and icons

  • Midjourney: generating the persona avatar

  • Useberry: usability testing platform

  • Gmail: communication with users

  • Google Forms: a quantitative research tool

2. Understanding the needs of neurodiverse individuals

A deep understanding and genuine empathy for the intended users are at the heart of every successful design. In the case of A-maze, our journey began by immersing ourselves in the world of neurodiverse individuals, particularly those with ADHD and autism.

This section delves into our empathetic approach, shedding light on the diverse range of insights and perspectives we gained from neurodiverse individuals.

a. User research

To reach a greater audience we launched a Google Forms questionnaire to gather measurable data that can contribute to our design.

We asked ten questions focusing on their, diagnosed condition, hobbies, routine activities, struggles, fears, relaxation methods, motivations, support environments, and visual focus points.

Here you can see the summary of our research data:

  • Demographics:

  • Pain points:

  • Motivations:

From the very start until the end, our goal was to create the most user-centered design. For this purpose, we also made qualitative research to make even deeper empathy and understand the lives, needs, and frustrations of our users.

We compiled our findings in Figjam and made affinity diagrams. In our research process, we had 14 affinity patterns and tens of quotes that provided us with a huge empathy map.

Here is the summary of qualitative research data:

  • User profile:

  • User quotes:

  • A huge and insightful empathy map:

  • Summary of the empathy map:

b. Market research

In addition to the in-depth user research and design process, we recognized the importance of conducting comprehensive market research to gain an understanding of the landscape of neurodiverse wellness.

  • Market Research

  • S.W.O.T. Analysis

So, where is A-maze in the market?

3. Identifying Key Challenges and Opportunities

After immersing ourselves in the world of neurodiverse individuals, distilling the vast array of insights into clear and actionable objectives was essential.

The defining phase of our design process allowed us to identify the key challenges and opportunities that would shape the foundation of A-maze. Through careful analysis of the data collected, we sought to uncover recurring patterns, pain points and needs experienced by our users.

a. Meet Dylan!

Dylan is our lovely project persona who is full of insights, thoughts, and of course pain points. As designers, we were hand to hand with him during this whole A-maze’ing journey.

Let’s have a look at his goals, frustrations, and needs deeply then I will take you on a journey with Dylan.

  • Dylan's journey map:

Okey but, what are Dylan’s actual pain points and how might we help him?

  • HMW help him be prepared for unexpected situations?

  • HMW help him follow up schedule and focus on his tasks?

  • HMW guide him to handle the unplanned social interaction?

b. The birth of the problem

After lots of empathy and thinking we created our solid problem statement:

Neurodiverse people need to find a way to navigate through everyday interactions that require focusing and socializing because their unique profiles can make it challenging to concentrate and handle unplanned situations.

4. Generating Innovative Solutions for Wellness

The ideation phase of this project served as a creative playground, where our team sought to generate creative ideas that would pave the way for the development of A-maze.

a. Ideated solutions

Our deep research has the same impact on both of us at some points. We both ideated solutions with weekly calendars, task lists, and in-app notifications as the main focus of the concept.

  • Ideas by Diana:

  • Ideas by me:

What I also focused on?

  • An AI chat feature: A platform to make practice and gain some experience when it comes to handling unplanned social interactions. Each day, users will be given a random topic and they will be expected to generate responses fitting into that topic. AI will evaluate the answers, guide them and explain the whys and whats by also addressing the actual sources.

  • Collaborators: Our target audience is having struggles to keep up with the rest of the day when some small mishaps occur. To save them from the feeling of getting lost and also make them feel loved and supported I came up with the idea of having real-time collaborators on the calendar and task pages. Those people could be trusted close friends or family members who can help the users with the best intentions.

b. Disruptive MVP

We explained our ideas to each other and after sorting in the MoSCoW table we created the most impactful MVP with only one draft! (for a more detailed explanation of the MoSCoW table please see my article here)

At the bare minimum,
the goal of our app is to assist Neurodiverse people with everyday tasks and interactions.

The app includes a weekly calendar feature that allows users to schedule tasks and events using visual icons that represent different activities. Users can also share their calendars and tasks with their family members and friends, making it easier to stay organized and get help when needed.

AI chat feature provides a safe and controlled environment for users to practice unexpected social interactions. Users can engage in chat tasks about random topics to improve their social skills and boost their confidence.

5. Understanding the logic of strong visual competitors

We conducted a visual competitive analysis to gain insights and inspiration from existing wellness apps: Fabulous and Calm. By carefully studying their mobile app and desktop versions, we sought to understand their visual aesthetics, user experience, and design choices.

  • Fabulous: with its sleek and user-friendly interface, captured our attention during the visual competitive analysis. The app’s intuitive navigation, visually appealing illustrations, and seamless flow of content created an engaging and immersive user experience. Additionally, their focus on personalization and goal-setting resonated strongly with our aim of empowering neurodiverse individuals.

5. Understanding the logic of strong competitors

We conducted a visual competitive analysis to gain insights and inspiration from existing wellness apps: Fabulous and Calm. By carefully studying their mobile app and desktop versions, we sought to understand their visual aesthetics, user experience, and design choices.

  • Fabulous: with its sleek and user-friendly interface, captured our attention during the visual competitive analysis. The app’s intuitive navigation, visually appealing illustrations, and seamless flow of content created an engaging and immersive user experience. Additionally, their focus on personalization and goal-setting resonated strongly with our aim of empowering neurodiverse individuals.

  • Calm: renowned for its emphasis on relaxation and mindfulness, served as another significant source of inspiration during our visual competitive analysis. We examined Calm’s calming color palette, soothing visuals, and gentle animations that foster a sense of tranquility and well-being. By observing their use of audio elements, nature imagery, and ambient sounds, we gained insights into how to create a serene and immersive environment within A-maze. Calm’s focus on simplicity and providing users with a seamless experience aligned with our goal of simplifying the lives of neurodiverse individuals.

6. Bringing A-maze to life

a. Lo-fi design and concept testing

We designed four screens as the first step. It seemed like a little bit less at the beginning (especially compared with the other design teams in the cohort) but we knew that validation of the concept was crucial. So, if that concept was weak we would be ending up spending unnecessary hours on the undesirable concept.

Let’s have a look at our lo-fi concept pages:

We made five concept testing with our users and the results were promising! Not only they liked them, but they were also giving ideas to improve even more.

I would like to give two quote examples from our concept testing. We have improved and implemented one comment and one not. Let me explain why:

The chat is brilliant! Are there different topics to practice on the chat screen?

Note: We didn’t implement this quote above in the design. We did not want our users to choose a topic that they are already comfortable with. As much as this was a nice suggestion, to gain experience and boost confidence we needed to get them out of their comfort zone.

Allow for a permanent task list i.e. a permanent shopping list.

We iterated this beautiful comment from our user, in the future design steps.

b. Mid-fi design and usability testing

After creating the mid-fi screens we used the Useberry platform to do our usability testing with five tasks. The tasks were:

  • To open the application and set up an account

  • Check your calendar and daily tasks

  • Check your profile

  • To have some fun with relaxing content

  • To interact with AI chat

We also made usability testing on doctors, who work with patients with ADHD or Autism diagnosis. Having medical advice was extremely valuable to design an even deeper experience.

Usability testing results were relieving and we saw that users can complete the tasks easily. We also got very pleasant feedback which was very motivating too. Here are some of the feedback we got after usability testing.

The animations are very pretty. I already feel relaxed.

Looks good-moving in a positive, helpful direction.

A-maze is a great title!

Do you offer other typography for dyslexic people?

Not sure about the videos. Maybe sounds of the sea or nature?

c. Crafting an empathetic identity for A-maze

Building a strong and distinctive brand identity was a pivotal aspect of our design process for A-maze. Through the careful cultivation of a powerful brand identity, we aimed to establish a meaningful and lasting relationship between A-maze and neurodiverse individuals. Let’s have a look at our brand attributes:

  • Supportive: We understand that neurodiverse individuals face unique challenges in their daily lives, and our app aims to be a reliable companion on their journey to wellness.

  • Inclusive: We believe that every individual, regardless of their neurodiversity, deserves access to the tools and support they need to thrive. A-maze embraces diversity and aims to create an inclusive environment where all users feel welcomed and valued.

  • Relaxing: Whether it’s through guided mindfulness exercises, calming music, or tranquil nature scenes, A-maze invites users to unwind and find a moment of tranquility amidst the chaos.

  • Encouraging: Through motivational messages, affirmations, and milestone celebrations, A-maze inspires individuals to keep pushing forward, overcome challenges, and embrace their unique abilities.

  • Simple: By simplifying the user experience, A-maze empowers neurodiverse individuals to focus on their well-being without feeling overwhelmed, allowing them to make meaningful progress on their wellness journey.

d. The calming simplicity of purple in A-maze’s design

It is a well-known fact that color plays a vital role in design. By selecting purple as the primary color, we aimed to create a visually appealing and inclusive design that evokes tranquility, simplicity, and a sense of balance for all users.

Its unique position between the coolness of blue and the warmth of red allows it to strike a delicate balance, creating a serene and soothing visual experience. Whether through gentle lavender hues or deeper royal purples, the color palette of A-maze is carefully curated to provide a harmonious and calming simplicity, inviting users into a tranquil and stress-free environment.

Purple is often associated with introspection, creativity, and spirituality, which aligns closely with the wellness journey of neurodiverse individuals. Purple can evoke a sense of inspiration, imagination, and empowerment, creating an environment that fosters self-reflection and personal growth.

By prioritizing purple as a dominant color, we considered its compatibility with common forms of color blindness, such as deuteranomaly and tritanopia. Purple stands out as an excellent choice due to its distinctiveness and clear differentiation from other colors on the spectrum.

  • A-maze color chart Deuteranomaly perspective:

  • A-maze color chart Tritanopia perspective:

e. Typography choices and inclusivity

The selection of Open Sans as the primary font family in A-maze was driven by its exceptional legibility, versatility, and accessibility. Open Sans features a clean and modern design, with well-defined letterforms that enhance readability across various screen sizes and resolutions.

Moreover, its balanced proportions, combined with a decision of using increased letter spacing of 3.5 times the regular spacing, contribute to improved readability and clarity, particularly for individuals with dyslexia. This adjusted letter spacing created a visually cohesive and harmonious user experience for all users.

Recognizing the specific needs of individuals with dyslexia, A-maze includes a dedicated “dyslexic mode” that further enhances readability and clarity.

In this mode, the Open Dyslexic font is implemented, offering unique visual characteristics specifically designed to alleviate the challenges faced by individuals with dyslexia. Open Dyslexic employs subtle emphasis on letters, with heavier bottoms and slight variations in letterforms, providing a distinct visual cue to improve letter recognition and differentiation.

  • Amaze branding style tile:

7. The final product

a. Desirability testing

We launched a second form for this project to test our screens in terms of desirability. We placed 4 screens of the app in the form and asked users to tell us the first three words that came to mind. We got answers from 20 people.

You can see the test results below:

b. Final screens and prototype

Below, you can see the impactful points of the screens with explanations.

If you want to have your interactions and check the prototype: The prototype Link

You can see the pre-recorded prototype video below:

8. Future features and takeaways

To carry A-maze even better place in the market, we have some new features to be implemented in the future. Such as;

  • Forums, platforms to share the experiences and ask questions to each other.

  • Profile timeline and creating contents.

  • Scientific information about the latest trends and approaches.

It has been a short in time but deep in research project for me. Since I am very interested in UX research and writing part, I am thrilled to face those kind of deep challenges to improve myself.

The more you understand the users, the more you feel confident about your work. A deep and focused empathy is an essential tool for really impactful design. During the critiques we had answers to every design decision and none of our implementations were based on shallow points or assumptions. From start to end we were always side-by-side with our target audience and that is what matters.




See the UI case study here.